Over three years ago, research from UC Irvine identified that the San Andreas Fault has caused a major earthquake approximately every 137 years during the last 700 years. The earliest recorded earthquake was in the Imperial Valley April 19, 1892 registering at 7.1. Since then California has experienced over 10 earthquakes measuring over 6.1. This means that the California is well overdue for a major catastrophic earthquake. Despite this obvious risk, the vast majority of residents are poorly prepared.
According to the statistics, everyone accepts that there is a very real risk of earthquakes in California. However it is surprising that a large majority of people are not taking initial, easy steps to be prepared at a basic level. All local emergency managers and first responders urge people to do the following – at the very least:
1. Have one gallon of water per person, per day for about five days (don’t forget to include pets’ needs)
2. Obtain a hand-crank radio to receive emergency information
3. Obtain enough non-perishable food for five days
4. Make sure you have extra medication and copies of important papers
5. Make a family plan so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.
Many people believe that the government will be able to provide these basic necessities after a major earthquake. However, history shows that in the initial response phase to a natural disaster of this magnitude, our local governments will be focused on the security and safety of our communities. So it is vital that families plan and prepare to be on their own for as long as five days. If we all do our part, we can build a strong and resilient community together.
People wanting to know their earthquake risk can go to a ground shake map with fault lines for Santa Barbara County. That map is available at the department’s County web site: http://www.CountyofSB.Org/CEO/OES.
Don’t forget to check out the Earthquake Mobile Application from the American Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/earthquake-app
Residents wanting more information about preparedness can go to http://www.Ready.Gov to obtain information on making a plan and creating a full preparedness kit.